Articles Posted in Car Accident

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Screen shot 2012-11-26 at 9.38.58 AM.pngThe Holiday season is now in full swing. Nationwide, during this time of heightened travel, the likelihood of getting in an automobile accident dramatically increases.

The traffic increases by over 50% on the five busiest holidays, and in turn the fatality rates on the road increase by 4.5 – 5 times. Thanksgiving is the most fatal holiday in regards to car accidents with an average of 567 on Thanksgiving day alone.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics website, “The Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year’s holiday periods are among the busiest long-distance travel periods of the year. During the 6-day Thanksgiving travel period, the number of long-distance trips (to and from a ¬destination 50 miles or more away) increases by 54 percent, and during the Christmas/New Year’s Holiday period the number rises by 23 percent, compared to the average number for the remainder of the year. ” Around 91% of holiday travel in the US is done by personal vehicle, leaving only 5-6% of trips taken by air.

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Last month, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) released their 2012 report on the most congested road segments in Texas. Topping the list is I-35W in Fort Worth. The DFW metroplex snagged 45 of the top 100 spots, including 5 in the top 10.

Stretching from I-30 to SH 183, this segment of I-35 racks up an average of 586,664 hours of delay-per-mile. Annually, this stretch of highway causes 1,160,961 hours of delay. It tested as the second most stressful highway to drive on in Texas according to the TxDOT congestion report. With these statistics, it carries a cost of lost time and wasted fuel of nearly $3 billion.

Fort Worth natives know that getting to DFW airport from I-30 eastbound is nearly impossible. The Texas Department of Transportation releases this report annually as part of their ongoing commitment to address traffic congestion. A calculated 2 million additional hours of travel time have been accumulated on a segment of highway that is only 3.7 miles long.

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The Texas Department of Transportation has launched a new campaign with hopes to decrease the amount of motorcycle accidents on the road. According to the department, “470 motorcycle riders and passengers died on Texas roads and highways just last year, 41 more deaths than in 2010. Officials reported that the drivers never saw the bike in half of all the motorcycle crashes.” Based on these statistics, the department has named the campaign “Look Twice.”

The Look Twice campaign will consist of new billboards along many Texas highways and will also include both English and Spanish public service announcements across the air, advocating drivers to look twice for motorcycles and blind spots. The campaign is pushing for all drivers, whether you’re driving a motorcycle or car, to particularly look twice when changing lanes or making turns at intersections, where most motorcycle accidents occur. More than half of the 470 fatalities could have been avoided by simply looking twice. (read full article)

As most of us know, motorcycles already come with a high risk due to the lack of protection a bike has. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are over 4 million motorcycles registered in the U.S., making up two percent of all vehicles registered in U.S. However, even though motorcycles represent only two percent of all vehicles in the U.S., they also represent five percent of all highway fatalities each year. More than likely motorcycle accidents end in serious injury or fatality, compared to a car where 20 percent of accidents result in serious injury or fatality. Motorcycle drivers need to be aware of all safety precautions before heading out on the road. To read the most updated list of motorcycle safety tips click here.

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Every year drivers are warned about the risks of driving, risks involving alcohol, drugs, texting and just about any distraction. Another risk that many drivers may think they don’t need to worry about is driving while tired, also referred to as drowsy driving. However, a recent study done by an Australian research team has found that almost half of the 517 professional truck drivers that were tested had positive results for sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is characterized as a sleeping disorder where a person may experience abnormal pauses in breathing during sleep. These pauses can range from a few seconds to minutes, they can occur anywhere between five to 30 times or more per hour, greatly affecting the energy level of the person the next day. The problem with the disorder is that many people who have it don’t realize they have it, though one of the most common symptoms can be constant fatigue and exhaustion during the day. At the beginning of the study, the researchers asked all 517 drivers if any of them had been diagnosed with sleep apnea. 4.4 percent said they had been. After the tests, results showed 41 percent of those drivers actually had sleep apnea.

“Sleep apnea remains a significant and unrecognized problem in CMV drivers, who we found to have multiple health risks,” the researchers wrote in the study. “Objective testing for this sleep disorder needs to be considered, as symptom reports and self-identification appear insufficient to accurately identify those at risk.” Though this study was done in Australia, all truck drivers and other drivers as well need to be aware about the condition and risks it creates while driving. Sleep apnea can effect people all over the world. (read full story)

Trucking companies have continued to update their laws and tests in hopes to enforce a safe driving environment both for their truck drivers and other drivers on the road, however, drivers still need to be aware of any symptoms they might have of sleeping disorders. Truck News recently reported that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will most likely begin testing truck drivers for sleep apnea in order to prevent drowsy driving.

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For those who have never heard of a program called SteerSmart, our firm would highly recommend everyone to look into it, especially those with young drivers. After seeing and dealing with several cases involving tragic accidents on the road, Borchardt Law Firm wants all drivers to be reminded of the basic ways to stay safe behind the wheel. At times, it is easy to simply think you’ll be fine with out your seat belt, or going 10 over on the high way is no big deal. However, after watching a presentation done by SteerSmart, you’ll be reminded why those simple gestures can not only save your life, but other drivers and passenger’s lives as well.

SteerSmart is a non-profit organization devoted to educating young drivers and parents about the risks and safety of driving. The program informs the public through presentations, literature and videos targeted to drivers, passenger and their parents. “The program helps drivers become more responsible and safer while helping their parents learn the real risks they face and how to better protect them.” SteerSmart presentations cover topics ranging from speeding to texting to alcohol to overcorrecting. The program covers every risk you can think of, and how easily those risks can be avoided. SteerSmart was founded by Lauren Winborne. Winborne, a mother of six, began the program after hearing interviews with parents who had lost their children to accidents. Winborne has since strived to educate schools, associations and communities in hopes to help prevent accidents that take lives and leave others impaired.

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(all images came from steersmart.org)

After attending a presentation, the program is guaranteed to leave an impact. SteerSmart presents students in the program who have been killed by making just one fatal decision and survivors from crashes discussing how easily their accidents could have been avoided. Accidents occur everyday across the U.S. Of all those accidents, 70 percent of them are avoidable accidents. SteerSmart shows their audience how to be in that 70 percent, the program focuses on the idea that no one wakes up and begins their day with the thought process of, “I could die this afternoon.” When you think twice about that statement, you begin to realize all the small things you might do behind the wheel that only increase your chances of being involved in an accident. It makes you think twice about the risks of driving and how to prevent your children from making those dangerous decisions.

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More than 2,700 vehicles have recently been recalled due to a problem with the vehicles side air bags. Federal safety regulators and The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have been investigating the problem they believe to be caused from defective parts. According to the investigation, “the recalled vehicles could have an ineffective mixture of the gas that inflates the side curtain air bags in a crash. That mix could mean air bags on one or both sides of the cars won’t inflate, increasing the risk of injury.” As of now, no one has been hurt but several companies have issued recalls. Regulators first noticed the problem at the end of January during a production parts tests at minus-22 degrees Fahrenheit, after further testing, results showed malfunctions at low temperatures.

The inflators were made by the Swedish Autoliv Inc, who stated to have shipped around 10,500 defective inflators to automakers and to two other air bag manufacturers. The recall includes Toyota, Honda, Subaru, and Nissan vehicles but more may be recalled soon. Other than the companies who have already recalled their vehicles, Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co., Kia Motors America and Suzuki Motor Corp. also received the defective parts but have not yet recalled any vehicles. For a detailed list of the recalled vehicles, please click on the following link – recalled vehicles.
The NHTSA is continuing to look closely into the investigation in order to keep all drivers safe. As we all know, it is critical to have air bags in cars, they can save lives. With the advancement of technology and the improvement of safety features in cars, fortunately, we have seen a slight decrease in the number of fatal accidents on the road. According to records provided by NHTSA, in 2008 Texas had 3,476 fatalities due to traffic accidents. The number of fatal accidents decreased by 12 percent in 2009, resulting in 3,071 fatalities. Traffic fatalities have dropped by 10 percent from 2008 to 2009 for the nation as a whole. We hope to continue to see a decrease in the number of fatal accidents.

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With the holiday’s right around the corner, traffic is quickly picking up and winter weather is slowly moving in. Borchardt Law Firm asks all drivers to be extra cautious on the road during these hectic times. Studies have found December to be one of the deadliest months for drivers across the state of Texas. It is one of the biggest traveling months and is also prone to unpredictable weather, such as rain, sleet, snow and ice. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in 2010 December had one of the highest reports of fatal state highway and city street accidents. Whether these accidents were a result from weather or distractions, drivers need to be aware of their surroundings and prepare for any situation. At Borchardt Law Firm, our law firm has come up with a few guidelines for drivers in hopes to help prevent accidents on the road.

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Though Texas does not see snow that often, we get our fair share of rain, sleet and ice during the winter. If you must leave your house, be aware of these guidelines to help prevent you from getting into an accident.

• Before leaving your house, check your tire pressure and make sure your tires still contain enough tread to create traction on the road.
• Plan your route on main roads that have most likely already been driven on.
• Drive slowly; prepare to go under the speed limit. Give yourself at least double the amount of the time it normally takes you to get to your destination.
• You should allocate at least three times more space in between your car and the car in front of you.
• When preparing to stop gently pump your brakes, don’t slam on your breaks and hold them down – this could cause your vehicle to continuously slide.
• Keep your car in low gears to hold traction.
• Try to avoid all bridges and overpasses – they will most likely be the slickest.
• Keep your lights on, helping other cars see your vehicle.
• If you begin to hydroplane, grip your steering wheel to keep control and wait until you feel your tires contact the road.
• If storms become too severe, pull over but avoid parking under power lines, trees and other large objects that could fall on your car.

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Drowsy driving could be the number one cause of car and truck accidents today. According to CBS News, a recent study done by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, found that 96% of drivers say drowsy driving is unacceptable, however, one-third of those drivers admit to driving while drowsy in the past month. Drivers have continuously been warned about the consequences of driving while intoxicated and driving while distracted, but now, the public needs to add to the warnings about driving while drowsy.

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Trucking companies across the nation have updated driving regulations with the intention to prevent drowsy driving, but whether you are driving a semi-truck across the state or a minivan to school, all drivers need to be aware of the dangers of driving drowsy. Know the warning signs to watch for when you’re behind the wheel. (read the full article)

Warning signs for drowsy driving

Trucking and car accidents are far too common on the roads today. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in 2010 based on reportable crashes, one person was killed every 2 hours and 54 minutes, one person was injured every 2 minutes and 26 seconds, and one reportable crashed occurred every 81 seconds. These statistics are devastating. Don’t let drowsiness, intoxication or any kind of distraction be the cause of an accident. (read full statistics)

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The need for personal injury lawyers has significantly increased across Texas, especially due to accidents on the road. Whether it’s DWI accidents, distracted driving accidents or just simple accidents the number of car crashes isn’t decreasing. One interesting study we found shows that driving while drowsy can be just as if not more dangerous than driving while intoxicated, causing thousands of truck and car accidents each year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has compared it to driving with a blood alcohol level at .10, well over the legal limit of .08. Driving while drowsy has proven to be extremely dangerous. NHSTA has estimated that each year close to “100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct results of drivers’ fatigue, resulting in an estimated 1,500 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses.” So how do you know if you are becoming too drowsy to drive?

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Know the warning signs of driving drowsy according to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

• The inability to recall the last few miles traveled
• Having disconnected or wandering thoughts
• Having difficulty focusing or keeping your eyes open
• Feeling as though your head is very heavy
• Drifting out of your driving lane, perhaps driving on the rumble strips
• Yawning repeatedly
• Accidentally tailgating other vehicles
• Missing traffic signs
Enough truck and car accidents happen every year, how can you avoid drowsy driving to prevent more truck and car accidents?

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has conducted a list of what they believe to be the six most important guidelines a driver can follow in hopes to prevent drowsy driving.

• Get a good night’s sleep: The amount needed varies from individual to individual, but sleep experts recommend between 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
• Plan to drive long trips with a companion: Passengers can help look for early warning signs of fatigue, and switching drivers may be helpful. Passengers should stay awake and monitor the driver’s condition.
• Take regular breaks: Schedule regular stops – every 100 miles or 2 hours, even if you don’t feel tired, and more often if you feel like you need it.
• Avoid alcohol and medications: If medications warn that they cause or may cause drowsiness, avoid taking them before driving. If you must take certain prescription medications that cause drowsiness, don’t drive immediately after taking them.
• You should never consume alcohol before driving in the first place, but it is especially important to realize that alcohol interacts with fatigue, increasing sleepiness. If you are already tired, even a small quantity of alcohol may exacerbate your sleepiness and increase your risk of crashing, even if your BAC is well below the legal limit for a DWI conviction.
• Consult your physician or a local sleep disorders center: If you suffer frequent daytime sleepiness, experience difficulty sleeping at night, and/or snore loudly on a regular basis, consult your physician or local sleep disorders center for a diagnosis and treatment.

(Read full article)

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Distracted driving has proven to be one of the leading causes in car accidents across the United States, especially among teenagers. These accidents can tragically lead to the injury or death of a loved one. Make sure you and your family are aware about the dangers of distracted driving. Talk to your kids about the serious consequences that can result from these accidents.

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On July 15, 2007 five high school cheerleaders in Western New York were killed in a car accident. Police pulled cell phone records which showed the driver had sent and received a text message just 38 seconds before 911 was called by a bystander to report the accident. Tragically, police can only assume that the distraction of texting was the main cause of the accident. Shortly after the accident more and more states began passing laws dealing with cell phone usage while driving. Stay up to date with the current Texas driving prohibitions. (read full story)

Texas Driving Prohibitions

• Ban on all cell phone (handheld and Hands-free) for bus drivers (Primary law)
• Ban on all cell phone (handheld and Hands-free) for novice drivers (Primary law)
• Ban on texting for novice drivers (Primary law)
• Ban on texting for bus drivers (Primary law)
• Texas has banned the use of hand-held phones and texting in school zones
• In Texas: bus driver laws pertain to bus drivers with passengers age 17 and under. Novice drivers are defined as all drivers at the intermediate stage, first 12 months.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “20 percent of injury crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving. The age group with the greatest proportion of distracted drivers was the under-20 age group. And 16 percent of all drivers younger than 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported to have been distracted while driving” (NHTSA).

Texas, trying to prevent more distracted driving car accidents, has enforced two new distracted driving laws. One bans teen drivers from using cell phones and text messaging devices while driving; the other prohibits all drivers from using handheld cell phones in school zones. These laws are now in effect across the state. Though, several Texas cities are taking distracted driving issues into their own hands. Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, Amarillo, Galveston, El Paso, Missouri City and Stephenville are among the cities that have passed local distracted driving laws.

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